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Consumer Windshield (Auto Glass) Guide

What a Windshield is Made Of

Windshields are most often made of safety glass that will not easily crumble or fragment into loose pieces on impact—to protect the vehicle's occupants from further damage. Modern windshields are frequently made with two layers of curved glass on either side of a plastic laminate layer. The entire piece is then bound to the car using polyurethane.

Learn more about windshield materials.

Windshield & Auto Glass Repair

Repair is a popular option when the windshield chip or crack damage is not excessive. Many times repair specialists can repair cracks that have spread up to 6 inches long! In fact, many insurance companies even offer free windshield repair in lieu of replacement due to the cost savings. Repairing is more desirable because it keeps the original factory installation of the windshield. Repairing will also help the environment by preventing the old windshield from being thrown out.

A typical repair will cost $40-60 compared to several times more to get a windshield replaced.

Learn when not to repair a windshield.

Windshield Replacement

The windshield is a vital part of a car’s safety measures (as much as 40-50% of rollover strength of some vehicles) so if repair is not an option you need to get it replaced.

When you are ready to replace your windshield be sure to:

  • Contact your car insurance company so you know what your deductible is before contacting a professional.
  • Find out what type of warranty the installer offers on their windshield replacement and get it in writing.
  • Regardless what your insurance company may say (or imply) you have a legal right to choose the windshield replacement professional you want to use.

Additional windshield replacement tips.

Windshield & Auto Glass Insurance

Most auto insurance companies are very user-friendly when it comes to windshield concerns.

Most insurance companies offer free repair if you have comprehensive (full coverage) insurance on your vehicle.

  • Some insurance companies offer a "glass deductible" that is different/lower than your vehicle deductible.
  • Typically speaking your insurance rates will not increase because of an auto glass claim.
  • Insurance companies typically don't require an insurance adjuster to inspect your vehicle.

Important informaiton to have before talking to your auto insurance company about a glass claim.

Insurance Deductible

Your deductible is the amount of the bill that you will be responsible for. If your deductible is $250.00 the insurance company will take care of the expenses above that dollar figure. You only pay the deductible once per incident not once per repair shop.

See other windshield insurance questions

Windshield Cracks

Cracks are straight or crooked lines extending across the windshield. Cracks can extend through the front and back of the windshield or just exist on one side of the windshield. Cracks can grow, so they should be repaired as soon as possible.

Learn about different windshield crack types

Specialty Windshield Types

Many specialty features are available for windshields --either through the manufacturer or as aftermarket kits. When repairing or replacing a specialty windshield make sure that you are getting the correct replacement part and/or that the repair will not negatively impact the way the windshield was intended to perform.

See a list of specialty windshield types

Driveaway Time

Driveaway time is the amount of time the adhesive hold in the windshield replacement must be allowed to dry. Although it can take up to 24 hours for the windshield replacement to fully meet its safety standards you can typically drive the vehicle in as little as one hour.

Windshield Scams

As with any industry there are people who will try to take advantage of people with little or no knowledge of windshield replacement or repair. Be wary of anyone that:

  • Encourages you to replace the entire window when you only have a small chip in the glass. If the windshield is repairable and you have it replaced instead this is considered insurance fraud.
  • Offers to give you cash in return for letting them do your insurance glass job. Offering "money back" on a fully covered insurance job could be considered unethical or insurance fraud as well.

See additional windshield scam tip-offs